When envisioning your wedding day, perhaps the least romantic thing to think about is the budget. However, having a budget is an integral part of wedding planning. With much excitement, emotional spending can easily occur. So adhering to a set allocation will help to alleviate wedding overspending and can be a positive step in starting off your marriage without financial stress.
- Prior to considering your finances, it is important to get a realistic idea of what things cost in your geographical area (enter your zip code into www.costofwedding.com to do a quick check of the average). Do research by asking former brides and local wedding vendors. Ask wedding professionals questions, and make sure that you understand all the costs – including any add-ons, fees, and taxes.
- Be sure to consider the type of wedding you want to have – for example, outdoor rustic versus formal ballroom. This could impact your budget significantly.
- Pinterest does not always equal reality. As much as it is hard to accept, many of the beautiful images on the web are the best of the best – meaning that a bride needs to be prepared that the cake she has been eyeing is well out of her budget. Share images with vendors, and be open to suggestions on creating something reminiscent of the original yet within a more realistic budget.
- Some locations and/or certain times of the year can be more cost effective than others. Many vendors are in demand during the warm months yet experience a lag in the late winter. Also consider what flowers are in season at the time of your wedding.
- A larger guest list usually equals the need for a larger budget. You may need to trim your guest list or spend less in other areas to accommodate more family and friends. When meeting with rental companies, venues and caterers, you will especially need to know your guest count for estimates. A larger wedding party can also impact costs.
- It is important to determine up front who is contributing financially to the wedding. If parents or family members are helping fund the wedding, be sure to have clarity on how much they are contributing.
- Divide your overall wedding budget into categories. Although there are various recommendations on what percentages of your budget should go into each category, be sure to look at each area and decide what is important to you. Splurging by having your favorite band play at your reception may be more important to you than spending on large centerpieces.
- Consider elements that will last. How your guests felt at your wedding and the documentation of it will be the only things that last besides the wonderful memories. Be sure to make your guests feel special and have something for your grandchildren to look at someday.
- Utilizing a wedding budget worksheet can help keep you on track. There are many on-line wedding sites that provide budget worksheets. Choose one that best represents your goals, or design one that will best fit your needs.
- Add in some buffer room for unexpected expenses or to have the ability to spend a few extra dollars on that wedding dress that makes you look fabulous.
- Once you have set your budget, try your best to adhere to it.
photo: Adam Mullins Photography